All is once again Not Well in the land of Electronic Arts. US law firm Robbins Geller has filed a class action suit against the publisher on behalf of stockholders affected by Battlefield 4's well-documented bugs and a subsequent plunge in EA's share price.
As reported by Business Wire, the claim alleges that EA "issued materially false and misleading statements highlighting the purported strength of the Company's rollout of version 4 of its all-important Battlefield video game series, which had provided approximately 11% of its revenues in fiscal 2012".
The statements in question "were materially false and misleading because they failed to disclose and misrepresented the following adverse facts which were known to or recklessly disregarded by defendants:
"(a) Battlefield 4 was riddled with bugs and multiple other problems, including downloadable content that allowed players access to more levels of the game, a myriad of connectivity issues, server limitations, lost data and repeated sudden crashes, among other things;
"(b) as a result, Electronic Arts would not achieve a successful holiday season 2013 rollout of Battlefield 4;
"(c) the performance of the Electronic Arts unit publishing Battlefield 4 was so deficient that all other projects that unit was involved in had to be put on hold to permit it to focus its efforts on fixing Battlefield 4; and
"(d) as a result, Electronic Arts was not on track to achieve the financial results it had told the market it was on track to achieve during the Class Period."
Going by extensive anecdotal evidence, at least, Battlefield 4 players continue to encounter a range of mild to severe bugs on all platforms. DICE released a new Xbox 360 patch today, and is working on another update for the Xbox One version.
EA Studios executive vice president Patrick Söderlund has admitted that the publisher's QA and bug-testing procedures are due an overhaul, but feels an entirely bug-free game is a technical impossibility.
"Listen, we have to do a better job of getting games into the market that are as bug-free as possible," he argued last month. "What I would say is, games are becoming more and more complex - even though we'll run a beta and we'll do massive amounts of testing, there are certain things, especially in an online-focused environment, that you won't catch.
"I wish I could day that we will, but I don't think we'll ever catch everything. I think we've got better at it, but I certainly think we're not where we need to be in terms of getting games to market that offer a friction-free experience."